A family of gray wolves was recently spotted in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, and Oregon Wildlife officials are hoping this indicates a resurgence of the species. The number of wolf groups in the area has been bumped up to three since the August sighting.
The new family of wolves is confirmed to consist of two adults and two pups. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has been following the group since December, where they were originally spotted on the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Their location was most recently documented in August.
“I hope this will be an exciting new chapter in the story of wolf recovery in the state, which is seeing wolves dispersing into territory where they haven’t lived for decades,” Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said to USA Today.
In 2021, The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented that the number of packs in 2021 had decreased from 22 to 21 after an entire pack was killed by poisoning.
The biggest threat to the wolf population is human involvement; of the 26 wolf moralities documented in 2021, 21 were caused by humans.
Wildlife advocates continue to argue that continued protections are needed for wolf populations to increase, but wolf attacks on livestock and big game have angered farmers and hunters—causing push back in placing these protections.
In February of this year, federal protections under the Endangered Species Act to wolves were restored in the western two-thirds of Oregon—something the Trump administration had removed in 2021.